Bloomsburg Middle School Student Wins Writing Contest

Madeline Polhill, a seventh-grade student at Bloomsburg Middle School, won a writing contest sponsored by Scholastic Scope Magazine and had her first line selected as the first sentence for a short story.Scholastic Scope Magazine invited students to create a first line to a short story and submit it for review.

More than 5,000 entries were submitted to the contest. Madeline’s was selected by writer Roland Smith, author of more than 30 novels. He created a short story based on Madeline’s suggestion: “Peering through the window, I caught a glimpse of some piles of old Halloween costumes, three giant plastic flamingoes, and a life-sized sculpture of Napoleon Bonaparte.”

Madeline was also featured as the main character in the story that is published in May 14th edition of Scholastic Scope.

[box type=”shadow”]The full story featuring Madeline can be found and read here as a PDF on the Scholastic website.[/box]

A Bridge Over Troubled Streets

Fast cars, limited crosswalks, and no crossing guards. To many these seem like the situations that occur on busy urban streets, but for many students living in The Honeysuckle and 500 Club apartments this is just a part of their daily commute in crossing Lightstreet Road on their way to campus. The Bloomsburg University’s student Community Government Association (CGA) and the University noticed this daily struggle and are discussing the possibility of constructing a pedestrian bridge to better accommodate students. This second pedestrian bridge would extend from the Honeysuckle and 500 Club apartments to campus in between the Haas Center and the Bakeless Center.

Lightstreet Road, or PA Route 487, is a busy thoroughfare separating the main lower campus from the athletic field and student housing to the north. In recent years as student housing has expanded away from the main campus, pedestrian traffic from that direction has increased.

The location of this additional housing relative to the lower campus academic buildings poses concerns for Bloomsburg drivers and student pedestrians alike. At present the existing pedestrian bridge at Penn and Lightstreet does accommodate some who choose to walk, but this bridge was installed years ago when volume of foot traffic as well as commuting patterns were much different. Originally built to provide safe crossing from the parking lot along Lightstreet, the bridge leads away from the two apartment complexes built in subsequent years.

Students who choose to walk to the lower campus estimate that the location of the current bridge adds an additional ten to fifteen minutes to their travels. In addition to reducing walking times, it is also hoped that the bridge would reduce the need for shuttle buses in the area.

“The bridge would make the trek up to class more timely, definitely quicker than the buses that take forever”, said sophomore Honeysuckle resident Devon Seier. “In the wintertime students could have a quicker access to the school and not have to wait on the buses,” stated Seier. When asked about his use of the current bridge he replied “Personally I don’t use it because it’s a longer walk for me. The bus is definitely the more logical choice at this point.”

The current shuttle schedules and the long, unsafe walks for the students in the Honeysuckle complex have led many to find housing elsewhere in town. “If I wanted to walk to campus on a nice day I would have to leave a half an hour early just to make it to class on time, I thought that was ridiculous and it motivated me to find a house closer to campus”, said former Honeysuckle resident Rich Lopez. The bridge project would put an end to these travel issues and could increase the number of students deciding to live at Honeysuckle and the 500 Club.

According to CGA President Dave Abrams the bridge project would be part of a joint campaign between CGA and the University to beautify Lightstreet and increase student safety. The CGA is considering using their reserve fund to clean up the area while the University would fund the bridge project.

“I love the bridge idea,” said Mr. Abrams “I think it’s something that the students need. I am a resident of Honeysuckle; if you look at where Honeysuckle is located according to campus it actually takes longer to drive to the University then it would to walk. The complex is right next to campus and the bridge would take you right to the quad. It is something that needs to be done.”

[box type=”bio”]By Bloomsburg University Student, John Catona. John is a Junior majoring in Psychology..[/box]

Mayor Knorr Declares PA State Rep Candidacy; Criticizes Rep Millard as “Complacent”

Last night, among a group of forty-five to fifty family members, friends, and supporters, Bloomsburg Mayor Dan Knorr announced his intent to stand for election and represent Columbia County and the 109th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Speaking at Balzano’s Corner Gathering in Bloomsburg, Mayor Knorr spoke of his experience as a Bloomsburg Town Council Member, as Mayor, and the events and reflections that led him to declare his candidacy for State Representative.

“In 2005 the people of this community … took a chance on a young man who thought he had the slightest idea of what he was getting into,” said Mayor Knorr of his past experiences. “I learned from some great mentors. … By 2011 I thought I pretty much had it down. [Bloomsburg] had two consecutive surpluses … and [we] completed a comprehensive blueprint for the next decade.”

Past accomplishments, however, were not the focus of Mayor Knorr’s decision to run for State Representative. Instead he reflected on the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Lee and how the community’s reaction affected him. “But in the fall of 2011 the lives of people across our region were upended in the flooding of Tropical Storm Lee. That flood spared my home, but it changed my life.”

“It changed how I see our community – its strength is far deeper than anyone could have imagined. It changed, for me, what it means to be a public servant; that we aren’t here just to answer the occasional complaint or to pose presenting checks but to harness and lead the incredible, positive potential of our communities and the lives that make them up.”

Continuing with this theme, Mayor Knorr reserved harsh criticism for Mr. David Millard, the current PA Representative for the 109th District and Columbia County. “Today, we have a State Representative who is not giving his all. After 8 years, he has grown complacent, he has grown comfortable, and he has lost what little fight he started with.”

In his candidacy speech, Mayor Knorr cited several areas in which he sees Representative Millard as not adequately representing Columbia County, including salaries for elected representatives, high corporate tax rates which Mayor Knorr blames for holding back economic growth, a lack of partnership among the State Representatives and their communities which host the Universities of the PA State System of Higher Education, and responsibly developing the natural gas resources of the Marcellus Shale formation.

“In 8 years he hasn’t authored a single piece of notable legislation,” said Mayor Knorr of Rep. Millard. “He’s collecting his salary, he’s staying safe, he’s keeping his sword clean, and he’s not rocking the boat. Moving inexorably and with the utmost care toward his pension, the status quo is his friend.”

After making his prepared remarks, Mayor Knorr spoke with members of the local media including the Press Enterprise, WHLM, and The Bloomsburg Daily. At that time Mayor Knorr was asked about what impact he thought he would have as a Freshman Representative as opposed to Rep. Millard who has the experience of serving Columbia County for eight years. “When you’re in a political position, you are your own boss,” said Mayor Knorr continuing his theme of active representation. “If you really want to push the envelope you can do a lot. If you want to sit back, not be controversial, you can do that. It is up to the individual how active you want to be. You have to choose to be active. Rep. Millard is not choosing to be active.”

[box type=”shadow”]A complete transcript of Mayor Knorr’s speech and candidacy announcement can be found here.[/box]

Bloomsburg High School Drama Prepares “Beauty” for Caldwell

As 2012 begins, the Bloomsburg High School Drama department is once again beginning preparations for its Spring Musical.

As 2012 begins, the Bloomsburg High School Drama department is once again beginning preparations for its Spring Musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The March production however, in addition to maintaining the high standards for which the students are well-known,faces additional challenges this year. The September 2011 flooding caused extensive damage to the high school’s auditorium. All 705 seats were lost along with all the flooring. The school district is in the process of cleaning and repairing the auditorium, but unfortunately due to the time needed for set construction and rehearsal, repairs to the facility will not be completed early enough for the drama department to present their production in their traditional home.

All the world might be a stage, but Bloomsburg High School Drama needed a place to perform. After much discussion and planning Assistant Director Kate Levan reported that the students have found a welcoming, if temporary home. “This year the Bloomsburg High School Drama Department will host our spring musical at the Caldwell Consistory,” said Mrs. Levan. “For those of you that just know it was the large building near our beautiful fountain, let me enlighten you. The Caldwell is a massive square footage piece of Bloomsburg history that encompasses a 600 seat auditorium complete with stage and lights.”

“With the total support and enthusiasm from the men of the Caldwell as well as the Superintendent of Bloomsburg School District, we are in full planning for our March presentation of Beauty and the Beast. This timeless tale of love will come to life in the setting of Caldwell, which I think is a perfect venue.”

Caldwell Consistory Theater
Caldwell Consistory Theater

Unfortunately this change of location does come at additional cost to the drama department, specifically the rental of Caldwell’s facilities. “We are looking for support from our community as well. We are forever grateful for what our community has given to us in the past and are hoping for that same showing of help for this year’s production,” said Mrs. Levan. “Mainly we would love to cover our rental cost for Caldwell, which is very reasonable for the amount of time we will be calling their space our home.”

“As we strive for our usual standard of top quality musical productions, our student cast of 75 is excited and ready to perform for their town and outlining areas. Many of our own students have endured their own loss in some way with the flood, but they are ready to come together as a cast and classmates to entertain our community.”

The production is planned for Thursday through Friday, March 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, with a “Beast Feast” dinner in character planned before the Friday evening show and Saturday matinee.

The production of Beauty and the Beast will be directed by Tim Latsha.

Ticket Prices are being determined and will be released soon. Look for news and updates here in The Bloomsburg Daily as preparations move forward.

[box type=”shadow”]If you would like further information on how to make a donation, or how you can help please contact Assistant Director Kate Levan at 570-784-1151, or by email at katep1977@hotmail.com.[/box]

Pine Barn Inn Hosts Holiday Charity Buffet

The Pine Barn Inn has always been known in our area for its rustic feel, delicious food, and excellent service. This holiday season the Inn and its staff will also be known for something more: generosity, kindness, and concern.

On Saturday 24 December, from 11 AM to 3 PM the Pine Barn Inn will host a free buffet for not only victims of the September flooding, but for all people in the local community who may find themselves in need. Reservations are highly recommended due to limited seating.

Pine Barn Inn General Manager Norman Mael explained that he took inspiration for this event from a similar experience when he worked at the Hotel Magee in Bloomsburg. “I believe this is the first event of this kind, but when I was working at the Hotel Magee we had a Bartenders’ Night Out for charity. I got the idea from that.”

Mr. Mael emphasized that this Christmas Eve Day lunch buffet is a charity event sponsored by the entire staff of the Pine Barn. “Everybody is donating their own time, contributing to help prepare and serve.”

“The employees, everybody thinks this is an excellent idea,” said Mr. Mael. “It really hits home for them to help out. One of our servers just returned to his home [a victim of the recent flooding]. They’re behind this.”

Mr. Mael also noted that this Charity Buffet is not only for flood victims, however, but for anyone or any family that may find themselves in need this time of year. “Someone who lost his job, has an uncertain future,” said Mr. Mael, “it’s not for me to determine who should be helped.”

At present The Pine Barn Inn has taken over 200 reservations for the event and still has room for about 150 more.

This Holiday Buffet is offered at no charge and will be held on 24 December from 11 AM to 3PM. Reservations are Highly Recommended because seating is limited.

If you wish to make reservations, please contact the Pine Barn Inn in Danville at 570-275-2071.

Details and a Full Menu of the buffet can be found on The Bloomsburg Daily’s Event Calendar or at the Pine Barn Inn website.

Bloomsburg Town Council Meeting Live Blog – 12 December

The Bloomsburg Town Council will hold a meeting tonight at 7PM in the Town Hall’s Council Chambers. Follow along with TBD’s Live Blog for up-to-the-minute reporting.

10:14 Town Council Council Adjourns into Executive Session.

10:12 Council approved funds for electrical repair at the Town Park, and Fencing along 487 at the Airport due to damage caused by flooding.

10:05 Public Works Committee Recommends that for the Restoom and Streater Park improvement projects, the professional services project contracts with HRG, Inc. be terminated and enter into contract with the Larson Design Group
for the professional services, at an additional cost of approximately $3,000.

10:00 Recycling Center summary and approval to purchase a forklift for the facility submitted and approved.

9:55 – Rezoning requests by Donald & Kay Camplese, David & Mary Hill, and Gaylen & Trudy Garrish are recommended to be denied. Council informed of the denial of the rezoning request and a hearing on the rezoning denial is set for Monday, 30 January. The hearings for all 3 requests will occur consecutively and notices will be sent to the applicants.

9:51 – NAM Futures, Recommendation to approve a pre-planning authorization to demolish the First Columbia structure at 1010 S. Market St. Motion made by Council Member Kreisher, Seconded by Kinney and passes unanimously.

9:50 – Connection looks Stable again, Blogging the second half of the meeting.

9:40 – 10 Minute Recess.

8:30 -Connection still in and out.

8:15 Connection Issues Resolved. Blog Continues Live. Discussion on Skate Park will be added after the meeting adjourns.

7:30 Also recommended by Mayor Knorr is that the 3-5AM parking ban in municipal lots be repealed. He feels that the police could be better used at that time of the morning rather than be involved in parking enforcement.

7:28 Mayor Knorr recommending that Permit parking enforcement changed from 9AM-5PM (Currently enforced from 8AM-5PM) to bring it into line with meter enforcement.

7:25 Mayor Knorr Discussing changes to parking permits, minor or no changes to Zones A-D. Mayor Knorr Recommending that Zone E near BTE/Allure exclusively metered parking with a reduction to 47 spaces sold. (Currently 82 permits are sold for the area)

7:22 Council Member appointed to Columbia County Tax Collection Committee. Members are allocated among County townships and boroughs based on population. If council members are not available for the meeting, the Town administrator will serve as the alternate.

7:21 2% pay increase for Non-Union employees for 2012 with one month health care premium contribution continuing approved.

7:19 Athletic Printing, Hazelton Oil, Earthlink, and Moore Tire Sales added to the 2011 Vendor list.

7:17 Administrative and Finance Committee requests for approval of monthly bills approved without objection.

7:16 Minutes for Police, Highway, Sanitary & Sewer approved without opposition.

7:15 First Agenda item, accepting the Dedication of Streets in the Sun View Terrace become streets of the Town of Bloomsburg. Motion by Council Member Kinney, Second by Levan to approve. Motion passes unanimously.

7:07 Mr. Helbok also expressed concern about traffic safety up and down Main St. and the issue was referred to the Public Safety committee

7:05 Mayor Knorr speaks about traffic safety in general in the town, expressing his wish that the town should look into visible countdown timers so pedestrian can see how much time is left to cross.

7:03 Oren Helbok, East 5th St, recognized and speaks about his concern about traffic on Main Street and Pedestrian safety, specifically on West Main where both pedestrians and motorists are ignoring signs with people crossing where they are not supposed to and cars traveling too fast.

7:02 Meeting called to Order. Citizens to be heard called.

6:55 All Set up and ready for the meeting.

Refresh this page in your web browser, beginning at 7:00pm tonight, Monday, Dec. 12th to follow the Town Council meeting live.

The Bloomsburg Daily will be present to Live Blog the event for those unable to attend in person.

A live blog is “a blog post which is intended to provide a rolling textual coverage of an ongoing event, similar to live television or live radio.” (Wikipedia)

The top of the post will have the most current update and then you will be able to scroll down the page to see all of the previous updates in reverse chronological order.

The Agenda may be downloaded directly from the Town of Bloomsburg’s website.

The tentative agenda includes:

Approval of Monthly Reports:

  • Police Department Report
  • Police Officer Report
  • Police Vehicle Fuel Milage Report
  • Highway and Sewer Monthly Reports

Report of the Administrative & Finance Committee minutes and payments, Including:

  • Approval of Various Monthly Bills
  • Recommendation to Approve a 2% Pay increase for Non-Union Employees
  • Discussion of Downtown parking changes for January-June
  • Skateboard Park Discussion

Code Enforcement & Zoning Officer’s Reports, Including:

  • Approval of HARB Minutes and various Certificates of Appropriateness
  • Recommendation to Approve a Pre-Planning Authorization for First Columbia Bank & Trust
  • Recommendation to Deny re-Zoning requests of Donald & Kay Camplese, of David and Mary Hill, and of Gaylen & Trudy Garrish

    Report of the Environment Committee, including the monthly summaries and approval of forklift purchase

    Report of the Public Works Committee, including approval of terminating professional services agreement with HRG, Inc.for Restroom reconstruction and Streater Park Improvements, and approving instead service proposals from Larson Design Group.

    Public Safety Committee minutes.

    Reports of the Town Solicitor, Fire Department, Community & Economic Development Committee, Airport Advisory Committee, and Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc.

Memorial Elementary Named National Blue Ribbon School

The U.S. Department of Education named 304 schools, one of them Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary, as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education named 304 schools — one of them Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary — as 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or for their success in closing achievement gaps. Today, the Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary community will come together in an assembly to recognize this achievement.  In addition, the Department of Education will honor the entire 255 public and 49 private schools with their National Blue Ribbon School awards at a conference and awards ceremony Nov. 14-15 in Washington, D.C.

“America’s long-term economic prosperity and civic engagement depends on our children receiving a world-class education,” Duncan said. “National Blue Ribbon Schools are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their success is an example for others to follow.”

The National Blue Ribbon School award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students achieve at high levels or where the achievement gap is narrowing. Since 1982, more than 6,500 of America’s schools have received this coveted award. Mr. Ryan Moran, Principal at Memorial Elementary School noted that, “Memorial Elementary school is one of five schools in the State to receive this prestigious award for academic excellence.”

To celebrate the achievement, Mr. Moran, said that the school will be “be holding a school-wide assembly on Wednesday, December 7. During the assembly, we will highlight our schools’ achievements as well as listen to several keynote speakers. Our distinguished speakers include Mr. Michael Walsh, Deputy to the Secretary of Education and Dr. David Soltz, Bloomsburg University President.”

The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, honors public and private schools based on one of two criteria: 1) Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests; or 2) Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that improve student performance to high levels as measured by the school’s performance on state assessments or nationally-normed tests.

Before selecting National Blue Ribbon Schools, the Department asks for nominations from the top education official in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. The Council for American Private Education (CAPE) nominates private schools. A total of 413 schools nationwide are nominated, based on the number of K-12 students and the number of schools in each jurisdiction. The schools are invited by the Secretary of Education to submit an application for possible recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School.

The Bloomsburg Daily will be attending today’s assembly and will provide photos from the event and more information about the award.

Portions of this story are taken from a press release provided by the United State Department of Education.

Q&A with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence

We recently had a chance to talk with Judy Yupcavage, the Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. We talked about the challenges involved in getting support and resources to domestic violence victims, as well as national headlines and the impact of Marcellus Shale gas drilling on housing for victims. We also identified resources available to victims in Columbia and Montour counties. If you or someone you love are affected by domestic violence, please take advantage of the resources readily available and the many people who want to help.

1. Can you tell us a little about your organization?

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV) – the nation’s first state domestic violence coalition – is a private, nonprofit organization with a statewide office in Harrisburg and a network of 60 community-based domestic violence programs across the commonwealth. We work collectively to build stronger, safer communities . We do this through prevention, intervention and social change strategies designed to shift public attitudes and break the generational cycle of violence; ensure free and confidential services to victims and their children in need; and secure sweeping laws and public policies that protect victims and hold batterers accountable.

2. There have been some startling developments in domestic violence policy recently, including Topeka, Kansas’ decision to decriminalize domestic violence. Can you talk about some of these decisions and how it impacts your job?

One of the primary reasons individuals batter is because they can. When there are no consequences, violence flourishes. All of the social and criminal justice systems are over-burdened and working with larger caseloads and fewer resources; however, the answer isn’t to ignore the risks that violent offenders pose to individuals and the community at large.

3. We recently heard that you are having difficulty finding housing for victims because of Marcellus Shale drilling employees taking up the available surplus. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

We’re hearing from domestic violence programs in gas drilling regions that safe and affordable housing (to rent and to buy) is becoming scarce with the influx of industry workers. Moreover, many of the programs’ clients report that their landlords are raising rents, sometimes so high that they are forced to relocate. Additionally, hotel and motel rooms are in short supply. As gas drilling expands, many fear the shortage of housing will be even more of problem for battered victims attempting to escape violent relationships.

4. What are the biggest challenges you face?

One of greatest challenges is stabilizing long-term funding for core services, such as hotlines, shelter and counseling, and for public education and prevention initiatives. The impact of a troubled economy has hit our programs hard. Their resources continue to diminish while operating costs continue to rise, along with requests for help from victims, many who are forced to remain in shelter longer because they have fewer housing and job options available to them.

Another major challenge is changing public perceptions that domestic violence is something less than a crime, nothing more than a private matter between sparring couples. Getting people to recognize that domestic violence is deadly and preventable is an on-going effort, as is getting people to step up and speak up if they see or hear domestic violence. We say, “there is always something you can do to help.”

Victim-blaming is a huge problem. From the outside looking in, people really don’t get a clear picture of what goes on inside homes where domestic violence is a way of life. They don’t see the fear that punctuates a family’s actions/interactions or the imposed isolation that limits their connection to the outside world. They also don’t see the lengths family members go to avoid further abuse, the many attempts they’ve made to be safe, or the hidden barriers that limit their ability to break free of the violence.

Responding to the alarming rate of domestic violence-related fatlities in PA also poses tremendous challenges. Domestic violence can be, and often is, as brutal and deadly as any stranger-on-stranger crime. Yet many people, including victims themselves, often underestimate its potential for lethality. PCADV is initiating training – beginning with domestic violence program advocates, law enforcement and health care providers – on the use of danger assessment screening tools that have the potential to enhance the safety of victims, law enforcement and the community at large, and prevent future homicides.

5. What are the warning signs that friends and families can look out for?

Certainly the physical results of battering – unexplained or suspicious bruises, broken bones. Other signs: Does person have repeated injuries and bruises that do not seem accidental? Does person fear partner’s temper or jealousy? Is person isolated from friends and family? Does person have repeated mental health and stress issues such as depression, suicide attempts, substance abuse, headaches and ulcers? Does partner exert an unusual amount of control over the person? Does person appear exhausted, frightened, or on edge? Have you noticed a change in behavior of person’s children? Do they seem easily upset or are they experiencing problems in school or with other activities?  At the end of this article, we will attach a list of things you can do to help domestic violence victims.

6. Can you talk about the victims a bit? We realize there is no “typical” victim, but we want to put a human face on victims. Can you tell us what their overwhelming emotions are?

Domestic violence victims come from all walks of life, all professions, income and education levels. They are teenagers and senior citizens. The one emotion many share in common is fear – fear for their safety and that of their children. Fear of retaliation if they leave; fear of losing custody of their children; and fear of living in povery or being homeless. They also feel pressure – pressure from the abuser, children, family, faith leaders and others to stay in the relationship. They often feel hopeless, isolated and judged.

7. Is there anything else that you would like to share? How can we help spread your message?

Anytime you report on domestic violence, please include information that free and confidential help – right in your own community – is just a phone call away, and publish the local domestic violence hotline and the national domestic violence hotline (800-799-7233).

If you or someone you care about might be impacted by domestic violence, in Columbia and Montour counties you can contact the Women’s Center.  Their phone number is 570-784-6631 and their hotline number is 1-800-544-8293. Click here to find resources in other areas.

How You Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

Friends or family members who are being abused:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse
  • Ask if they’re safe or need someone to talk to
  • Explain that FREE and CONFIDENTIAL help is available help for victims and their children at local domestic violence programs
  • Offer a ride to a local shelter, a place to make a phone call or to baby-sit while they attend appointments

Friends or family members who are abusers:

  • Call police if you see/hear abuse
  • Tell them there are no excuses for abuse and they may lose their families, friends, homes and jobs if it doesn’t stop
  • Hold them accountable for their behavior
  • Support their efforts to locate and obtain appropriate batterer intervention treatment

Your local domestic violence program:

  • Volunteer your time
  • Make monetary donations or donate phone cards, gift certificates, bus tickets, etc.
  • Offer to board pets or livestock while victims are in shelter
  • Sponsor a family for a holiday meal, holiday gifts, etc.
Photo by ghetto_guera29

Sexual Abuse Q&A with Bloomsburg University

Dr. David SoltzGiven recent events at Penn State, we felt it might be helpful to talk with Bloomsburg University officials to discuss the policies and procedures related to sexual abuse on campus.  President Soltz issued a statement several days after the events at Penn State transpired which encouraged those in the university community to alert authorities about potential sexual abuse that may be occurring on campus.  However, we wanted to dig a little deeper in order to discuss what training and procedures are in place behind the scenes and what the requirements for reporting are for university police.  In addition, given that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexual abuse victims, we wanted to find out what types of resources Bloomsburg University provides for those impacted by sexual abuse.

We read your statement about defining the process for reporting potential sexual abuse cases, with people encouraged to go directly to university police.  What compelled you to make the statement?

With the recent headlines, this was a good time to review BU’s current policy as well as remind the campus community of the proper protocol.

You encourage anyone in the university to notify campus police if they have reason to believe there is abuse going on.  That is fantastic, but on the other side, what are you telling campus police? Are there training or sensitivity programs going on there to help them deal with any potential cases?  Are they equipped to respond?

BU takes a team approach in addressing cases of sexual abuse / sexual harassment. Our campus police are part of that team. Within the last three weeks, the team attended a training session on this topic. Additionally, BU hosted a two-day workshop on how to conduct investigations involving sexual assault/sexual harassment cases. The university also consults with PASSHE (Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education) legal counsel on a regular basis to ensure we are handling cases of this nature in an appropriate manner.

With regard to campus police, what is their reporting role/process to town or state police?  If a case of abuse is brought forward, are they legally obligated to share that information?

If a crime is reported on campus, it is in the jurisdiction of Bloomsburg University Safety and Police Department. BU Police will investigate, consult with the DA and file charges. Like our counterparts, Bloomsburg Town Police, we submit a unified crime report monthly to the State Police.

Clearly in the case of Jerry Sandusky, people were potentially incredulous — when faced with rumors and potential incidents –because he was thought to be such a good, upstanding person who had such high standing. And with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men sexually abused at some point in their life, this is probably going on in every town and on every campus across the country.  How do we convey to the university community that anyone can be a victim and anyone can be a perpetrator?

There’s information on the University Web site regarding sexual assault/sexual harassment. (http://www.bloomu.edu/Title_IX) Educational information is emailed and posted around campus detailing how to report allegations of sexual assault / sexual abuse. (http://www.bloomu.edu/wrc)

What resources do you have on campus for sexual abuse victims?

In addition to the BU Police, the team includes representatives from the Office of Social Equity, Women’s Resource Center, University Counseling Services, Residence Life and the Office of Student Standards. When an incident is reported, the Title IX coordinator is obligated to coordinate services with all of the offices involved. This ensures our police are notified and involved immediately. Additionally, if a student is harmed, residence life and the counseling services are on hand to provide support and resources. It’s important to note the Women’s Resource Center is readily available to assist any individual who has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on gender in educational programs which receive federal financial assistance. Programs and activities which may be included are: academic programs, admissions, athletics, employment and recruitment, financial aid and university housing.

Title IX clearly prohibits sexual harassment which includes sexual assault and violence.

FEMA Trailers Arriving and Moving into Place

Stony Brook Circle has been busy getting ready for FEMA trailers to arrive. Two trailers have already been placed on empty lots between other homes on Pebble Lane and Rotary Street, four sites are ready on Finch Street, and the rest are being placed at the top of the court off of Brook Lane and Country Land.

The typical FEMA trailer consists of a master bedroom with a standard size bed, a living area with kitchen and stove, bunk beds, and a bathroom with shower. Each trailer is equipped with electricity, air conditioning, indoor heating, running cold and hot water, a propane-operated stove and oven, a small microwave oven, a large refrigerator, and a few pieces other pieces of furniture, including a mattress, a small dining table and chairs. Each trailer is elevated about two feet above the ground, on concrete supports on a prepared level site and is accessible through a wooden or aluminum stairwell or ramp.

The construction has caused a few problems including the loss of water twice due to pipes being struck and causing air to enter the system and road issues from the heavy construction traffic. FEMA trucked in water to replenish the system after it drained completely and is expected to repair any damage caused to roads and landscape.